A dad from Garston, Watford, who created a networking group for men suffering from mental health issues was overwhelmed with the turn out for the first #DadsandLadsNetwork meet up.
Ross Coniam, who now lives in Abbots, created the idea of the group last year and is now even more motivated to make the initiative a vocal point for all men across the country after seeing the benefits of the first get-together.
Ross himself has struggled with depression and anxiety, mainly after the death of his daughter Norah Faith, who died nine hours after she was born in May 2018.
Ross was determined to create a group after seeing first-hand the lack of support for men after Norah’s passing.
“When Norah passed away, there was no support for me as a dad. There were family support groups but nothing for men and knowing the stigma around men not talking about how they really feel, I knew I had to do something,” said Ross.
For the first meet up, six out of 16 men in the group, who are from all over the UK, including Manchester and Sunderland, travelled to Topgolf in Watford and had a drink, something to eat and spoke about their stories.
Ross explained: “It was really emotional to be honest. We have been chatting in a WhatsApp group and it was really good to meet them all and give everyone the opportunity to speak about their stories.
“I have spoke to everyone in the group but that isn’t the case for everyone else. Everyone opened up and spoke about their struggles and their life with strangers, but the positives are there.
“I have been keen on doing it since Norah passed. Yes, I want to help others, but the meeting helped me and that’s what we want out of the group – to help eachother.”
Since his epic #Nine4Norah campaign last year, which saw him take on nine gruelling fitness challenges and raise over £50,000 for charities, Ross struggled with getting back into a routine after suffering from a big comedown from the events.
Most recently becoming a dad to Ernie, wants to make clear the group is not just for bereaved dads, but is open to all men, no matter what you’re dealing with.
For more information about the group, contact Ross through the Nine4Norah Facebook page.